Facebook and Twitter are taking the place of email for many people, and Skype often replaces the phone. In messaging and chat, Facebook and Google+ are nearly identical. For messages, just pick a name and type. Facebook also offers something like a spam filter—a separate section for messages that appear to be mass mailings, scams or just unwanted notes from random people. It works quite well, but too stealthily, accessed by clicking on the tiny word Other under the messages icon. This approach makes it very easy to miss plenty of messages that are actually important.
In chat, users of either service can easily make themselves appear visible or invisible and available or unavailable to others (or available to only certain people). And both offer video calling.
But Google+ has a different philosophy with video. It can be an add-on for a one-to-one chat, as with Facebook. But it’s also for groups. Any friend in a Circle, or on any ad-hoc list, can accept an invite to a Hangout—where everyone sees everyone else at the same time. For now, it’s too novel to be more than a cool trick. But as people get used to them, Hangouts can be great for anything from virtual family reunions to team meetings of colleagues spread around multiple offices.
It matches Facebook’s messaging capabilities and adds the promising group-video Hangouts.